Apr 152015


The Wine Society of Texas Announces 2015 Scholarship Grant Program

Copy of WST Grant Application: NR-WST-Scholar-Announ-04082015

The Wine Society of Texas will provide up to $7,000 in assistance for the wine education, internship or field study, and appreciation of wine through education.

On Tuesday April 14, 2015, The Wine Society of Texas (WST), a 501c3 non-profit educational organization announced that it is accepting applications for its annual Scholarship Grant Program. In order to apply for the grant, individuals must be: (a) attending institutions in the State of Texas studying viticulture and oenology, or (b) pursuing winery internships in Texas, or (c) involved with Texas winemaking or field studies / wine education, or (d) involved in promoting the education of grape growing and wine making in the State of Texas. Grants may be given depending on the quality of requests in the amount totaling up to $7,000 by the WST. The scholarship program is consistent with the founding idea of WST and its continuing mission to promote Texas winemakers and grape growers, enhance the appreciation of wines, foster the knowledge of oenology and viticulture, and support charitable activities.

According to Ms. Shirley Choate, WST President, “The WST Scholarship program offers financial assistance for tuition, books, or for related travel expenses for individuals registered or in a program of study with a Texas university or college offering accredited courses in viticulture or oenology. Financial assistance can also be provided for winery internships in Texas or for Texas winemaker studies. The funding for the WST Scholarship program is provided from charitable donations, local WST Chapter fund raising events, and various WST statewide wine events such as the wine education seminars. Our scholarship supports local Texas wine talent, which will be the future of the Texas wine and hospitality industry.”

WST has awarded over $37,000 in grants over the past 10 years. The awards have been used for a variety of purposes – research for the Texas wine industry including Pierce’s disease, Wine Symposium and Conferences, financial assistance for students attending Viticulture or Hotel Management programs, wine sommelier studies, and authors on the Texas Wine Industry.

The WST will be accepting applications up to 15, June, 2015.  All applications must be returned by this date, fully completed and with all necessary documents, to The Wine Society of Texas. Applicants are required to fill out the WST Scholarship Application, which will be reviewed by the WST Scholarship Committee.  The committee may recommend single or multiple awards depending on the quality of applications received. All decisions will be final and applying does not guarantee receiving a grant.  The WST scholarship award(s) will be announced in the summer of 2015.

For more information about the scholarship program or the WST please visit our website at www.winesocietyoftexas.org.


The Wine Society of Texas (www.winesocietyoftexas.org), headquartered in Midland, Texas, was started in 1996 and received its 501(c) 3 non-profit status in 1999. It has about 200 members around the State of Texas. The WST mission is: to enhance the appreciation of wine, especially Texas wines; educate the experienced as well as the beginning wine taster; promote the wine makers, and grape growers; foster the knowledge of oenology and viticulture; help in charitable activities throughout the state of Texas; and promote the responsible consumption of wine. It organizes events that promote appreciation of wine through education in a comfortable social setting.  The WST offers annual grants from its Scholarship Fund to assist in wine education, internships and field training.

 Posted by at 10:26 am
Apr 142015


Texans Sure Do Like Their Bubbles: Domaine Carneros Provides

When Domaine Carneros winemaker Eileen Crane and I met for lunch last week for lunch at Houston’s RDG Bar Annie, nearly the first thing that came up in conversation was the fact that the second largest Domaine Carneros wine club was the one right here in Texas. The largest of their wine clubs was the one back on its home California turf: the winery’s 138-acre estate parcel in the heart of the cool Carneros region of Napa Valley, California.

The Taittinger family behind the world-famous Taittinger Champagne founded Domaine Carneros in California after a search for a worthy U.S. counterpart in the 1970-80s. In 1987, the location of the estate was selected followed in short order by the appointment of Eileen Crane to oversee the development of the winery and vineyards. She has garnered accolades for her winemaking skills. She is still today, the estate’s only winemaker from the inception of its operations.


Domaine Carneros Winemaker Eileen Crane

International wine reviewer, investment advisor and highly credited Houston oenophile Denman Moody also attended our Bar Annie lunch. As we tasted through three of Eileen’s sparkling wines (Brut, non-vintage Rose’, and Le Rêve) Denman pounded question after question about dosage, release date, alcohol content and price point. I took a more laid back approach trying to better absorb why a lady of Eileen’s winemaking stature was doing a tour through Texas, albeit well-timed to get an advance on our soon to be hot season.

The Domaine Carneros sparkling wines were stellar:

2010 Domaine Carneros Estate Brut – Rich, substantial mouth feel, essence of roasted almonds and hazelnuts melded with lemon citrus and brioche. A value priced sparkling wine at about $30. This one get’s my acknowledgement of “Best Buy” in the sparkling wine category.

Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé NV – A Lively combo of raspberry, ripe stone fruit and citrus with underlying mineral notes. A worthy drink with a wondrous color and sparkle at $38.

Domaine Carneros Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs – A traditional tête de cuvee made from the chateau’s estate Chardonnay playing with yellow delicious apples, young ground ginger, brioche and pleasingly tart lemon citrus. A worthy and classic sparkling cuvée for enjoyment at the moment of a special encounter at $108.

I have to admit that I initially missed Eileen’s point about her Texas customers until later in our conversation when she reiterated the significance of the ardent following Domaine Carneros has in Texas. But, it hit home to me when she said, “Texans sure do like their bubbles”. You know something? It was over a decade ago, long before I met Eileen, when I realized precisely the same thing.

While doing research on wine drinking in Texas, I came across one very old receipt for a purchase of French Champagne by early Texas impresario, statesman and revolutionary Lorenzo de Zavala from May 18, 1831 (France – Île-de-France – Paris). Those were the days on the Texas frontier when you really had to plan ahead for a good bottle of bubbly (and hope for the best). Later, I found further evidence for the Texas love of bubbles in numerous accounts of Texans’ Champagne toasts on occasions of New Years, baby births and corporate promotions; also to mention launching of ships and celebrations of our Texas wildcatting successes, too. In their day, Texans of high society have reportedly been seen in some of the finest restaurants in the State drinking Champagne (with a certain Texas flourish, no doubt)  from their lady fairs’ high-heeled slippers.

It is obvious that Eileen and her colleagues at Domaine Carneros know what Texan’s like and that Texans know their favored brands. She said, “They like brands like our that always denote quality, value and that have been consistently in the Texas marketplace for many years.”

As we received our lunch offerings, Eileen, Denman and I moved forward with a tasting to two of Eileen’s Domaine Carneros Pinot Noirs:

2012 Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir – A blend of eleven unique clones of Pinot Noir, all from the Chateau’s estate vineyard. Near the cool north end of San Francisco Bay with ethereal smoky notes overlaid onto nuances of black raspberry and mineral rich soil. Plays quite well at this value price of around $36 (Just try to beat this for price and quality points).

2012 Domaine Carneros The Famous Gate – A blend of four select, estate-grown Pinot Noir clones; an artisanally-made wine with wonderful color and aromatic extraction. A sophisticated mélange of ripe red and black fruit, minerals with a soft and silky finish.


Chateau at Domaine Carneros

As we sipped, Eileen related a story highlighting Domains Carneros’s special relationship with Texans. She said, “Many years ago, one of our good sparkling wine customers in Texas, a guy named Bill in Dallas I as I recall. He called the chateau and asked why we didn’t make a sparkling Rosé. Well, I decided to take Bill’s lead and made a limited release; 100 cases or so. We ended up with our telemarketers getting an instant demand for the product in Texas even before we could ship this new wine into Texas. Shortly thereafter, we started to see Texans showing up at the chateau in California in their SUVs. They were coming to pick up our Brut Rosé and drive it back to enjoy in Texas.”

Eileen Crane thank you for your time for conversation and the opportunity to enjoy your wines over a very interesting and enjoyable lunch. Also, thanks for your chateau’s commitment to Texas wine consumers and for including Houston in your travel plans.

 Posted by at 10:32 am
Apr 042015


Raise a Toast to El Paso del Norte, Fray Garcia de San Francisco and our Modern Texas Wine Industry.

Sacramental wine in early El Paso del Norte apparently had its roots farther north up the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Before Fray Garcia de San Francisco came to El Paso to found the Mission Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and planted vineyards, he served in San Antonio de Senecú (in present-day New Mexico).

It is reported that as early as the 1630s the Senecú Mission produced  wine to supply other missions in New Mexico. To bolster his locally produced wine, his Franciscans  also received shipments of wine from Mexico City. These shipments were imported Spanish wine that was intended for use in the sacrements of the Catholic Church. Rumor has it that priests may have sold the more desirable Spanish wine to wealthy passioners and substituted the local wine. As we know, the virtues of wine in the Catholic Church is for its sacramental value in the eyes of God and not for its gustatory experience.

However, the Senecú Mission was short lived due to sever and bloody native distrubances. The missionaries eventually reteated southward to the safer confines of the growing and better-defended settlement and mission in El Paso del Norte and it’s shorter and more stable supply lines to Mexico City. Thus, Fray Garcia de San Francisco brought his winegrowing and winemaking talents to El Paso to claim his birthright as the acclaimed “First Viticulturalist of Texas” albeit in advance of Texas independence from Mexican rule that took place over 150 years later.

Another factor that came to bear that helped wine production in El Paso was a change in Spanish policies with respect to wine production in the Americas. As far back as 1519 under direction of the King of Spain, grapevine cuttings and cuttings and root stock were sent in every ship bound for the New World with the hope of  supplying local wine. The efforts to establish a New World wine industry were initially successful. However, in 1595, the king of Spain gave new orders that new plantings or replacements of vineyards in New World were forbidden for fear that the colonies would become self-sufficient in wine production, but it was already too late.

American producers were not permitted to export their wine to any place that could be supplied from Spain, the ban saw only limited enforcement. The aforementioned Spanish prohibition dates from the seventeenth century, precisely the century when  Fray Garcia de San Francisco’s planting of vines began at El Paso del Norte. Best we can tell is that the first cuttings were planted in El Paso del Norte in 1659, the time when he founded the mission there. Reportedly the mission was on the southern bank of the Rio Grande in what became Juarez, Mexico, and his vineyards were planted in the dry rocky, clay-rich red soil on the northern shore. This was more than a hundred years before other Spainsh missionaries first brought their winegrowing and wine culture to California.

Wine production in El Paso and even the production of distilled grape spirits (i.e brandy) evolved into the robust business for the Catholic Church. Eventually, the Mexican government secularized this business that continued to florish as a local commercial industry through the 1700s and up to the mid/late-1800s. The journal entries of travelers through the region during that period are explicit about the high quality of the wines and brandies enjoyed by these early Texas tourists.

The rest is history. There was a long period of struggle in Texas involving battles with native tribes for rights to the land, battles of confederate secession and civil war, and battles of prohibition on sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages. These were not supportive of growing a Texas wine culture.

However, nearly every European immigrant farmer that came to Texas in the 1800s brought with them a love of wine and its place in everyday life. These transplants to Texas tried to make wine, some used native grapes and others found hybrid varieties that could withstand disease pressures and a climate of extremes.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Texas built on its wine legacy. Modern techology and a more affluent and diverse Texas society gave rise to Texas as the fifth largest wine producing state, the seventh largest grape producing state and fourth largest wine consuming state.

And, let’s have a toast to that….Cheers!


Thanks to Rick Hendricks for his historical narrative titled, “Wine Production in El Paso and the Grapevine Inventory of 1755” utilized in part for this blog. See: http://newmexicohistory.org/people/wine-production-in-el-paso-and-the-grapevine-inventory-of-1775 


 Posted by at 11:36 am
Mar 222015


Pedernales Cellars Vermentino and Viognier: Found on My Mediterranean Isle of Texas – Update

I recently sat down to taste two new white wines from the 2014 vintage, both from Pedernales Cellars. This winery has been long known for their Viognier and expectations were high. After all, Pedernales Cellars has been a winner at the top levels of the wine world,  both in Texas and abroad.   In 2013, it was a Pedernales Cellars Viognier garnering Top Texas Wine in the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Wine Competition and their Reserve Viognier brought home a Grand Gold at the Lyon International Wine Competition.

The other wine from Pedernales Cellars was a Vermentino, new to them but hardly a stranger in Texas thanks to noteworthy achievements with this grape by another Texas winery. None other than international wine luminary Oz Clarke has also heralded Vermentino as the white grape for Texas.

Pedernales Cellars 2014 Viognier was like sipping an elegant fruit cocktail, not the canned variety, rather something worthy of a Wolfgang Puck creation. It had prominent, aromatic notes; peach, pear and a mélange of tropical fruits, crisp acidity on the palate, and finishing with electrifying lemon citrus.

Pedernales Cellars 2014 Vermentino gave ripe Meyer lemon citrus followed by racy lemon zest that was enhanced by herbal notes of thyme and a finish that brings up the minerally limestone character of it’s new found Texas home.

As I tasted both these pleasing Pedernales Cellars wines with Mediterranean heritages, Vermentino from Sardinia and Italian coast, Viognier from southern France, my mind slipped into a bit of whimsical muse. As I tasted, I imagined Texas as an island, yet a rather large one, afloat in the Mediterranean Sea. After a few more sips and time to consider further, this thought did seem a bit preposterous and gave me a chuckle. I realized that the sea’s largest span was the Ionian Basin only 500 miles across.

Alas, not enough to fit our young but up-and-coming wine producing “island” state. Drink on!


For the Rest of the Story – Notes from Pedernales Winemaker David Kuhlken

This Pedernales Viognier was made with grapes from the Bingham Vineyards on the Texas High Plains using limited skin contact, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks. A small portion of the wine underwent secondary malolactic fermentation adding mouth-feel and complexity. Before bottling the wine was fined and then filtered.

The Pedernales Vermentino was also made with limited skin contact, cool fermentation (small portion with malolactic fermenation) and fined/filtered starting with grapes from Andy Timmons’ Lost Draw Vineyard on the Texas High Plains.

It is important to note that 2014 vintage was important after the major loss of the 2013 High Plains crop to spring freezes. In 2014, there were again spring freezes on the High Plains. However Lost Draw Vineyards led the way in adding freeze protection systems and showed proof that such systems can really work in Texas. The season was slightly wetter and cooler than the previous seasons and has helped to create an exciting vintage with rich fruit.

 Posted by at 2:00 pm
Jan 262015

Stone House Vineyard on Lake Travis

Russ Kane VintageTexas on SommChat Wednesday 1/28 11AM CT – Discuss Texas Hill Country Wines & Wineries

This January marks my 20th year since first finding out that Texas had a native (yet still infantile) wine industry and operating as a consumer, wine group director, wine writer and blogger. In 1995, there were less than 40 wineries in the whole state, but now Texas stands with over 300 wineries with at least 50 of them in the Texas Hill Country alone. January also marks this anniversary with the publication of my second book on Texas wines: Texas Hill Country Wineries (from Arcadia Publications) – a pictorial history and wine trail guide to the central Texas wineries and the Texas Hill Country wine experience.

This Wednesday morning at 11 am until 12 noon CT, I will go live on Sommchat, a one hour long twitter chat hosted by Keeper Collection. I will be there to discuss my book and answer your questions on the Texas Hill Country Wineries and why the Texas Hill Country was names to the Wine Enthusiast’s 2014 List of Top 10 Must See International Wine Destinations. I will be joined by members of the Texas Hill Country Wineries wine trail. I have also invited some of Texas’s best and brightest sommeliers to join us.

In my opinion, the Texas Hill Country is the culmination of over 300 years of wine culture that has evolved in Texas.

Texas grapes grows in soils made from ancient sea limestone deposits, similar to the grape-growing regions of Europe. Texas wine culture arrived in the 1600s with Spanish missionaries who settled and planted vineyards in El Paso Del Norte. The 1800s brought German and Italian immigrant farmers to Texas.They considered wine a staple of everyday life and found ways cultivate grapes in their new land and ways to keep the industry alive even during times of Prohibition.

In what is now America’s No. 5 wine-producing state and the Texas hill country contains the highest density of wineries in the state and one of the three largest American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the United States. It may surprise some, but not the wine aficionados who have visited the Texas Hill Country’s 50 or more wineries that wine-and-culinary tourism is currently the Texas Hill Country’s fastest growing sector.

Hope to tweet with you on SommChat this week.

— — — — —

To participate just use your Twitter account at www.twitter.com, but don’t forget to use the hashtag #sommchat so others can see and follow what you tweet. You can also go to the TweetChat room set up for #Sommchat (http://tweetchat.com/room/sommchat). No registration is required; you can login using your Twitter account info. In the TweetChat room, participants are invited to follow tweets, add comments or tasting notes and share thoughts as participants taste and discuss the wines. Another Twitter chat website which works well is: http://www.tchat.io/rooms/sommchat. On TweetChat and TChat the hashtag #sommchat will automatically be added.


 Posted by at 9:50 am
Jan 222015

Crisped Kitchen Pride Portabella Mushroom

Sneak Peeks: “Texas By The Book” Dinner Offerings from Chef Ross Burtwell

Last week I posted an announcement for the upcoming Friday February 27th Six-Course Texas Wine Dinner and book signing event with Chef Ross Burtwell, Chef Terry Thompson Anderson and me. Click here for details. Come to this event and start your Texas Hill Country weekend off right!

Well, Chef Burtwell has been in his Cabernet Grill kitchen in Fredericksburg “fine-tuning” the recipes for the event. Shown above is the Crisped Kitchen Pride Portabella Mushroom with Red Pepper Aioli and Pico de Gallo. This preparation has it all: savory, crunchy and spicy. I have paired this dish with Texas Hills Vineyard Sangiovese that will be presented by winery owner and winemaker Gary Gilstrap.

Shown below is Chef Ross’s rendition of Oyster Shrimphooley “Road House Style”…Fresh pecan-smoked Gulf oysters on the half shell topped with a mélange of Shrimp, garlic, butter and Parmesan. I can just about smell the briny, cheesy aromas from here. This dish is in the lead off position for our dinner event.  I have paired it will Duchman Family Winery Vermentino. It will be presented by winemaker Dave Reilly.


Oyster Shrimphooley

Included in the event price, attendees receive a set of three author-autographed books:

Tickets and further information are available from Cabernet Grill. Click here for more details.

 Posted by at 9:51 am
Jan 212015

VintageTexas Interview on Houston Matters: How the Texas Hill Country Became a Wine Destination

I welcome you to listen to my recent interview by Craig Cohen on Houston’s KUHF Houston Matters. I recorded this interview a couple weeks ago as I was nearing the release of my new book from Arcadia Publications, Texas Hill Country Wineries, that occurred earlier this week.

It is now available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Arcadia Publications websites. In the near future, the book will distributed to local book stores in the Houston, San Antonio, Austin and DFW areas and be available at winery tasting rooms around the Texas Hill Country. For your personalized, autographed copy of the book (signed by the author and sent by mail), go to the Wineslinger book purchase site at: http://wineslinger.net/product/texas-hill-country-wineries/

In this interview, I describe how the book covers the evolving wine heritage of Texas from Spanish missionaries in the 1600s to European immigrant farmers from Italy and Germany in the 1800s with vintage photographs and extended captions. It is a book that you can pick up, put down and pick up again as you please or keep it in your car;s glove box for easy reference while traveling.

The majority of the book focuses on the last 30 years and more recently on four hill country wine trails that meander around the Balcones Fault, Edwards Plateau, Route 290 and the Guadalupe and Colorado River areas.

The Texas Hill Country Wineries book is a wine lover’s field guide to the hill country wineries helping wine tourists find specific wineries and the types of wines they are seeking (red, white, dry or sweet). It’s like a birder’s field guide: filled with photos, maps and helpful hints. But, in this case, it is formulated for wine aficionados and tourists looking to satisfy their search for specify wineries and Texas wines in the Texas Hill Country.

For more information on the Texas Hill Country Wineries wine trail and the upcoming 2015 Wine Lovers Trail, go to: https://www.texaswinetrail.com/


 Posted by at 1:12 pm
Jan 152015

Chef Ross Burtwell, Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson, Russ Kane (aka Doc Russ Texas WineSlinger)

A Texas Food & Wine Extravaganza from Three Texas Authors: Texas by the Book 

When: Friday, February 27, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

Where: At Cabernet Grill – Texas Hill Country Restaurant in Fredericksburg, Texas (2805 South State Highway 16, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
(830) 990-5734)

Texas wineries: Duchman Family Winery, Grape Creek Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyard, Pedernales Cellars, Bending Branch Winery, and Brennan Vineyards.

The Cabernet Grill Restaurant at the Cotton Gin Village in Fredericksburg, Texas, is pleased to announce a celebratory early-spring Texas wine and food dinner on Friday February 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm.  It will be a feast featuring fine Texas cuisine (six course, wine-paired menu below) prepared from recipes from the new cookbooks from two eminent Texas chefs: Chef and author Terry Thompson-Anderson and the Cabernet Grill’s own Chef Ross Burtwell using local and Texas-sourced ingredients. Texas wine pairings will be selected by Russell Kane (aka Doc Russ Texas Wineslinger), author of the new book, Texas Hill Country Wineries, a wine trail guide and photo history.

According to Cabernet Grill Owner and Executive Chef, Ross Burtwell, “This is a very unique event the likes of which I’ve not seen in the Hill Country or perhaps even Texas”.

The exciting part of this Texas food and wine extravaganza that Chef Burtwell eluded to is that it includes a six-course gourmet meal with each course paired with a premium Texas wine, with the wines presented by principals from six premium Texas wineries: Duchman Family Winery, Grape Creek Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyard, Pedernales Cellars, Bending Branch Winery, and Brennan Vineyards. Participating wineries, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars, Bending Branch Winery and Brennan Vineyards, are also part of the newly formed Texas Fine Wines.


Also included in the price of the event, attendees will receive signed/autographed copies of each of the three books:

But, wait there’s more: The books will be snuggled into a gift bag with coupons for wine tastings for two at each of the wineries and a discount on purchase at Fredericksburg’s UrbanHerbal.

Cost $250.00 per couple (one set of signed books) or $150.00 single (one set of signed books), including wine pairings, autographed copies of each of the three books, plus tax and 18% gratuity on the meal. NOTE: Reservations Only. Reservation deadline is Tuesday, February 24, 2015.

Tickets for this event are available from Cabernet Grill by phone: 830-990-5734 with credit card. This unique and special dinner event is expected to be a sellout, and there is only one seating. So, it is suggested that reservations be made as early as possible. All sales will be final.

(One Heck of a) Menu:

Oysters Shrimphooley – Duchman Family Winery Vermentino

Fresh pecan-smoked Gulf oysters on the half shell topped with a mélange of

Shrimp, garlic, butter and Parmesan


Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Soup with Avocado and Curry & Lime – Grape Creek Vineyards Cuvee Blanc

Giant lumps of backfin blue crab meat and an avocado wedge swimming

In a heady broth of curry, ginger, coconut milk, and lime, then napped with Scallion Coulis


Crisped Kitchen Pride (Texas) Portabella Mushroom – Texas Hills Vineyard Sangiovese

Breaded with panko breadcrumbs, then flash-fried and served on a

Bed of chiffonade romaine lettuce, drizzled with red pepper aioli and crowned with

A nest of tiny-dice pico de gallo

Served with

Pan de Campo –

“Camp bread” designated the official bread of the State of Texas by the Texas Legislature

And signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in 2005


A Surprise Course to Delight the Palate


Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin Steak topped with a Sauce of

Aged Brazos Valley Brie Cheese and Shitake Mushrooms – Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo

Smoked Wild Boar Leg with a complex Blackberry Mustard Sauce – Bending Branch Winery 2012 Texas Tannat
On a bed of Soft Polenta with Jalapeños & Onions


Salt & Pepper Chocolate Panna Cotta – Brennan Vineyards Portejas

A sinfully delicious concoction of heavy cream, chocolate, caramel, and port wine studded with sea salt flakes and topped with port-wine macerated sun-dried strawberries and a dusting of Freshly ground black pepper

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Jan 152015

Jennifer McInnis Comes to New Position at Bending Branch Winery


Bending Branch Winery is proud to announce that Jennifer McInnis will join its team January 26 as the company’s Marketing and Sales Manager. Jennifer will be responsible for marketing initiatives, social media and on premise restaurant sales.

Jennifer comes from the San Antonio Express-News, where she reported on the Texas wine industry for six years before being promoted to Food & Drink Editor of the Sunday Taste section in April 2014. The section has been awarded Best Newspaper Food Coverage in its circulation category by the Association of Food Journalists for four consecutive years, and her stories about Texas wine regularly appear on the front page of the Express-News.

She is a Houston native with 12 years of experience as a journalist, with previous positions at the Dallas Morning News and Corpus Christi Caller-Times. In 2008, she was a fellow in the Multimedia Editing Program at the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Jennifer has a Mass Communications bachelor’s degree from Texas State University in San Marcos. She is a member of the San Antonio Sommelier Association and has attained Level 1 through the Court of Master Sommeliers. She also has served as a judge for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo S.A.L.E. Wine Competition and the San Antonio Wine Festival Competition.

Jennifer said, “I am proud to join the Bending Branch team during this exciting time for the winery and the Texas wine industry. It’s impressive what they have accomplished in a little more than five years, and I’m thrilled to play a role in helping them achieve their goals for the future,”

“We are incredibly impressed with Jennifer’s accomplishments over the last several years, as well as her comprehensive knowledge of the food and wine industry. We at Bending Branch Winery are very excited about the talent she adds to our team,” Winemaker John Rivenburgh said.

— — — — —

Bending Branch Winery, a boutique winery near Comfort, Texas, is a sustainable practices and organically focused operation with 20 acres of vines, comprising 16 varieties. Our wines include award-winning Petite Sirah, Picpoul Blanc, Cabernet, Souzao, Vermentino and Tannat. While Tannat, our signature grape, has quickly emerged as a true champion of the terroir unique to Texas, we have found great success with many more. For information, news and events, visit www.bendingbranchwinery.com.s will join its team January 26 as the company’s Marketing and Sales Manager. Jennifer will be responsible for marketing initiatives, social media and on premise restaurant sales.


 Posted by at 12:09 pm
Jan 072015

Photo from TexasMonthly.com

TM Wine Club by Texas Monthly – Focuses on REAL Texas Wines

It was announced this week that Texas Monthly is starting a new wine club. Details were provided on their website at:


According to this site, members will receive a regular supply of the world–class wines currently being produced in Texas, and around the world. Shipments occur throughout the year in the months of February, April, October, and December. They will avoid shipping in the summer months, as the extreme temperatures throughout Texas can adversely affect the wines. This effort is being organized by Austin-based journalist and author, Jessica Dupuy who is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators.

Jessica explained to me that all wines will be Texas Appellation only. The exception being, for times that TM Wine Club decides to do a comparison [with non-Texas wine] for Tempranillo, Sangiovese, etc, it will be clear in the shipment letter what the purpose for that is. All of the shipments will include a letter from Jessica explaining the selections. However, she stressed that all wines will be Texas Appellation wines for the first few shipments.


Jessica Dupuy (center) with Austin-based media colleagues Denise Clarke and Matt McGinnis at Texsom

For those struggling to interpret Texas wine labels and want to know what Texas appellation really means….

Texas appellation means that the wines will be from Texas wineries whose wines can (according to federal regulations) carry federally approved appellations in Texas indicated on their labels. Appellations are a protected name under which a wine may be sold, indicating that the grapes used in the wine are from a specific district. According to these rules for a wine to carry a Texas appellation on the label, a wine needs to be made from at least 75% grapes actually grown in Texas or one of the seven Texas regional appellations such as Texas High Plains, Texas Hill Country, etc. Wines that carry an “appellation-less” label that uses the phrase “For Sale in Texas Only” are not generally made from enough Texas grapes to qualify as Texas appellation and are from wine or grapes that come to Texas from California.

Jessica further explained, “Future shipments that may be comparisons for different varieties, i.e. Texas Tempranillos with a couple of Spanish Tempranillos… or Texas Sangiovese with a couple of Italian Sangiovese wines… This won’t be for a while, but we wanted to leave the option open to do a couple of fun comparative shipments to show how well some of Texas’ wines are doing in a global context.”

She also stressed that, “As the name of the club implies, this is a ‘Texas Wine’ club. It’s about Texas wine. And since I’m the only one picking the wines, you can be sure that’s the commitment I’ll have in working on these shipment selections moving forward.”

Jessica, it sounds like this will be a wine club that will finally focuses on REAL Texas wines! And, certainly one that old Sam Houston would be proud of.

The February TM Wine Club shipment, featuring Texas Monthly contributor Jessica Dupuy’s Best Texas Wines, is available to members only. Click here to join.

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 Posted by at 12:02 pm